Dr. Evert Leijenhorst


Research performed in the Ph.D. assignment entails the conversion of biomass to products via fast pyrolysis and subsequently through an autothermal catalytic reformer (ACR).  Both the direct coupling of the processes as well as the indirect route, via pyrolysis oil as an intermediate product, is considered.

The indirect route focuses primarily on the production of clean syn-gas, suitable for the production of 2nd generation biofuels. The focus of the direct route is the production of renewable electricity and/or heat/cold by conversion of fuel gas in a CHP unit. Specific attention is paid to the autothermal behavior of the reforming process since this has a significant influence on the overall efficiency of both routes.

Recovery of mineral matter from biomass in the fast pyrolysis process is included in the research as well. The fast pyrolysis process considered here combusts the char by-product at moderate temperature (550-600°C) to supply the heat required for the pyrolysis process. This low-temperature combustion results in a concentrated mineral-rich by-product (ash), while emissions of for example heavy metals are avoided.

The external Ph.D. assignment is financed by, and performed at, the Dutch company BTG Biomass Technology Group B.V. Three setups are available at BTG for experimental research; one for the production of pyrolysis oil from biomass, one for the ACR of pyrolysis oil, and one for the directly coupled process.